- Week 16 of college football features Conference Championship games on Saturday, December 19th
- Alabama vs Florida in the SEC and Notre Dame vs Clemson in the ACC are among the marquee matchups
- Read below for the best ATS picks for Conference Championship weekend
Conference Championship week has arrived, and there’s no shortage of great matchups on tap for Saturday, December 19th.
Alabama will look to stay unbeaten against Florida, while Clemson and Notre Dame rematch in the ACC title game. Over in the Big 12, Oklahoma goes for a fifth straight conference championship against Iowa State.
Here are three ATS picks to consider for Week 16.
Florida vs Alabama SEC Championship Game Odds
|No. 7 Florida Gators||+17 (-108)||+425||0 74.5 (-108)|
|No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide||-17 (-112)||-590||U 74.5 (-113)|
All odds taken Dec. 15 at DraftKings
Tide Steamroll Gators
Alabama will be looking to end its regular season with a perfect 11-0 record when they face an 8-2 Florida team for the SEC championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday. The Tide have put up 50-plus points in back-to-back weeks and held Arkansas to just three points in Week 15. Alabama hasn’t played a close game since Oct. 10 at Ole Miss.
Florida is coming off a deflating 37-34 upset loss to LSU in which they gave up 418 yards of offense and couldn’t contain freshman QB Max Johnson. The Gators have struggled defensively all season and are giving up 385 yards per game. Considering they couldn’t stop an inexperienced LSU offense that was without top receiver Terrace Marshall, it’s hard to see them having an answer for the Tide’s lethal attack.
The only team in SEC history to win 10 conference games in a season:@AlabamaFTBL ? pic.twitter.com/Kz9V5VkFlF
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) December 12, 2020
The Tide have a three-headed monster on offense with QB Mac Jones, RB Najee Harris and WR DeVonta Smith. All three players are among the best in the country at their position and can single handedly takeover a game. Whether it’s dominating the ground game, short passing plays or the deep ball, Alabama’s offense is so versatile that it constantly keeps defenses guessing.
Florida has its own electric offense led by QB Kyle Trask and TE Kyle Pitts, but they’re going to be in tough against a stingy Tide defense. Alabama’s defense has only gotten better as the season has wore on, and is coming off an exceptional outing against the Razorbacks. They sacked Arkansas QBs eight times and will create havoc for Trask. Florida’s run game is non-existent, so getting to Trask and forcing him to make mistakes will be key.
Pick: Alabama -17 (-112)
Notre Dame vs Clemson ACC Championship Game Odds
|No. 2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish||+10.5 (-109)||+275||0 60.5 (-110)|
|No. 3 Clemson Tigers||-10.5 (-112)||-360||U 60.5 (-110)|
Irish Cover Against Tigers
Clemson is listed as a 10.5-point favorite over Notre Dame in the ACC title game at Bank of America Stadium, after the Irish beat the Tigers in South Bend earlier in the year.
The main difference here is at the QB position, as Trevor Lawrence will be back under center for Clemson in place of DJ Uiagalelei. Has Lawrence inflated the line, or is the superstar pivot really worth this many points to the spread? This line opened with Clemson favored by just over a touchdown, and has been bet up by the public.
Lawrence leading his team to a revenge win makes for a great storyline, but don’t expect this Irish team to go down without a great fight. Notre Dame ranks third in the ACC in total offense (474 YPG) and is allowing just 314.5 yards per game – behind only Clemson (314 YPG).
This squad is special. #GoIrish x #Rally pic.twitter.com/dwdyBX6qfu
— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) December 6, 2020
Ian Book’s Notre Dame career has been building to this moment. He came up short in his first clash with Lawrence back in the 2018 CFP semifinal and will determined for redemption this time out. Book carved up this secondary for 310 yards and a touchdown in November and is capable of doing it again, even if the Tigers get back injured starting linebacker James Skalski.
The key for the Irish to win this game is containing Travis Etienne. He carried the ball 18 times for just 28 yards in South Bend and hasn’t racked up more than 80 yards on the ground since late-October. The reason to be confident in this trend continuing is how the Irish neutralized UNC’s electric RB tandem of Javonte Williams and Michael Carter a few weeks back.
Uiagalelei threw for over 400 yards against this defense, yet Notre Dame still won. Some project that the freshman will become an even better QB than Lawrence. This should be another close game, which means there’s plenty of value on the Irish.
Pick: Notre Dame +10.5 (-109)
Oklahoma vs Iowa State Big 12 Championship Odds
|No. 10 Oklahoma Sooners||-5.5 (-112)||-200||0 58 (-108)|
|No. 6 Iowa State Cyclones||+5.5 (-108)||+160||U 58 (-113)|
Sooners Get Revenge on Cyclones
Oklahoma is looking to claim a fifth straight Big 12 championship when they take on Iowa State in Arlington, Texas on Saturday. While the Sooners have played in 10 of the last 12 title games, Iowa State will be making its first ever appearance in the Big 12 championship game and will be playing for a conference title for the first time since 1912.
Not only has Lincoln Riley been here before, but the Sooners were playing some of the best football in the country down the final stretch. Oklahoma has won six straight games and lead the Big 12 in offense with 485 yards per game. The defense has also come a long way under Alex Grinch and hasn’t surrendered more than two touchdowns since Oct. 31 at Texas Tech.
Can’t wait to get back at it next Saturday!#BoomerSooner pic.twitter.com/yLtVAZe4VO
— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) December 12, 2020
Iowa State is having a fantastic season and beat Oklahoma 37-30 back in October, but there’s a reason the Sooners are favored in the rematch. Oklahoma is a completely different team at this point of the season. QB Spencer Rattler is much more poised and experienced, while two key players who missed the first meeting have provided a huge spark.
DE Ronnie Perkins has racked up 17 tackles and four sacks in five game since returning from suspension, while running back Rhamondre Stevenson has exploded for 382 yards on the ground in four games since coming back. This is a much more complete team, and it showed when they destroyed Oklahoma State 41-13 in November.
Iowa State is being respected based on their fantastic season, but it’s clear Oklahoma is the more talented team. The Sooners have been here before, and that’s going to show up in the final score.
Pick: Oklahoma -5.5 (-112)